2 doorbells, a transformer and an electrician


Old 10-06-06, 01:07 PM
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2 doorbells, a transformer and an electrician

We had an electrician install a doorbell chime in our basement when we had it finished this summer (so we could hear the bell upstairs and down). Now, when the button is pushed, we hear a very, very soft "ding" upstairs and downstairs, but no "dong". When I asked the electrician about this, he said I needed a stronger transformer, but that he didn't know anything about them.

I checked the existing transformer (it's the kind that plugs into an outlet and also has wires connecting to it with screws and through the wall). It is 120V. I went to the box store and the only transformer I could find with stronger voltage was 121V and there was also a triple transformer, which I nothing about either.

Does anyone know what transformer I need or how many more volts I need to get the old audible "ding-dong" back?

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Old 10-06-06, 01:57 PM
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First, take a look at this page, to understand how your two-tone chime doorbell works:


Did your doorbell work properly before? It is possible the electrician miswired your second chime, to put it in series with the first chime instead of parallel. That would cause about half of the expected voltage on both chimes, and could be the problem.

Was this a real electrician, or a handyman? I ask, because most electricians know a fair deal about transformers... certainly enough to install a doorbell correctly! Transformers have two important ratings, namely their input and output voltages. The input voltage is always going to be 120V in a residential application like this, because it's plugged into line voltage at the house. The output voltage is where you see differences. Some doorbell systems use a 12V output transformer, some use 24V, it can depend.

Was the second doorbell chime identical to the first one? Can you see any of the wiring work that he did? The wiring should look like the "parallel" option in the drawing I made, put this link in your browser: http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/2125/doorbellwiringvf3.jpg

IMO, if the doorbell doesn't work right, then the electrician didn't exactly do his job, did he? I'm surprised his response is to tell you to get a bigger transformer, without providing more details.
Old 10-06-06, 02:22 PM
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"Real" door chime transformers are not the little "wall warts".
Most are designed to be hard wired to the electric source. For two chimes, you need a transformer with 16 volts and 30 VA on the screw terminals (also called the secondary). The hard wired leads are for 120 volt house power and called the primary. These are available at any big box store that sells chimes.
Old 10-06-06, 08:58 PM
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further investigation

I will have to look into all the advice posted and do some investigative work to see if I can find anything. Thanks for all your great insights.

He is a real electrician. He mentioned that several times in a belittling, you know squat so don't question me kind of way. I'll have to find out who his supervisor is and maybe get him on it.

Thanks again. I'll follow up when I find something.

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